Feeling like you are not heard is one of the fastest paths to loneliness. When we don’t believe another person really knows our heart, we can feel all alone. Many men who struggle sexually know exactly how this feels. In fact, it is likely he feels alone in his marriage.
As you learn how to communicate your heart to your wife, it is extremely important that you first listen to hers. This will begin to strengthen the connection between the two of you and soften each other’s hearts. To go bounding in, expecting her to just listen to you, while you have not listened to her, may become a set-up to recreate the wound that makes you feel so alone and insignificant.
There will likely be times when your wife repeats herself. If your wife is repeating herself, she is signaling that she is not feeling heard. This can be an opportunity once you recognize the signal, because now you know you have missed it. You can clarify her intended message, but the heart needs to be held. You may do this simply by holding her. An empathetic word or touch can go a long way. Of course there may be times when a hug is not appropriate. If she doesn’t want you to touch her, make extra efforts to empathize with her by listening respectfully.
Another way to hear your wife’s heart is to watch for it. When you first started dating, you made an effort to notice things she likes and dislikes. Do this in deeper ways. Get to know more fully what makes her happy, sad, what her dreams are, etc. When you know these things, never stop looking for them and use them to exhort and encourage her.
It may seem too simple to start dating her again, but it isn’t. It will be difficult to be consistent, you won’t always feel like it or fall into old patterns. Just like you do with your kids, look for connecting moments to share. Just as Mary Magdalene poured her precious perfumes over Jesus’ feet, treat her extravagantly. Extravagance is not about money, it is about time, affection, and serving.
Healthy communication tools are an essential element to hearing her heart, but this is the long way around. When you rebuild the connection between your hearts, it may take time for her to be able to trust it. Be patient and gracious with her. Take heart; things may be rough in your marriage right now, but to know and connect intimately with your wife in deeper ways than you have ever known will change things – the best years may yet be ahead of you.